Category Archives: novel

My Week In Writing (21/05/17)

20170521_175211Well, first of all the big news: I resigned from my job this week. I’m still hoping to find an entry level position in publishing, but I can’t stomach staying in my current job any longer. Four more weeks and I’m out. Hopefully moving to some kind of temp job. I’m trying not to think about it too much, when I’m not actively job hunting – this level of uncertainty is a terrible thing!

That out of the way: I started reading Summer and marking it up for a final round of edits. So far I’ve found two glaring flaws I’d previously missed, one of which I’m pretty sure has been there since draft one. I have no idea how I missed it for so long! I’m on chapter three, and stalling to do some minor re-structuring.

Settlement 359 has passed 140k and despite my best efforts, I’ve started a part eight, titled Freefall. Things kept getting worse and worse for my protagonist, so I rolled with it and now she’s struggling to recover from mental time travel-enduced amnesia. However, I’m pretty sure part eight will be the last one… I’ve been saying this for a while.

I’ve started work on an entry for Big Finish’s annual short story contest. Torn between two ideas, not sure which is best, and as I don’t have to have a completed story to enter and I can submit more than one, I might as well try and do both.

Speaking of Big Finish, this week I listened to a William Hartnell era Lost Story called The Dark Planet, which was both a fairly typical sixties Doctor Who story, exceptionally dark, more or less impossible to do on film now let along fifty years ago. I’m not surprised it didn’t get made. It’s fascinating listening, though.

This week’s Doctor Who, Extremis, was absolutely phenomenal. Beautifully executed mindscrew and absolutely terrifying – my only concern is how they’re going to top it with the (by the looks of it, more conventional) follow up!

I started reading Darling by Jackie Kay, which is slow going because you can’t just rush through a poetry collection, you have to pause and contemplate, y’know?

Next week, I’m planning to listen to some monthly range Big Finish stories with the Fifth Doctor (my fav!) and start reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the last of my birthday books. Otherwise, I’m job hunting relentlessly.

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How I wrote a novel on purpose: Ash

“The wind’s blowing from the north.”

I don’t say anything. Above us, the sky is solid black, and the wind tastes like smoke.

“That’s a good sign, ye ken. Your mother’s a north witch.”

“I suppose.” I look at my trainers. The toes are scuffed to hell and back. They’re starting to pinch. We were supposed to be going shoe shopping next weekend.

“You’ll be a north, one day.”

I look up at Heather. She’s smiling down at me nicely, her bobble hat pulled low on her head. That soft, sympathetic smile I’m going to be seeing a lot of shortly, and I’m already sick of it. “I guess.”

Up until last November, I’d never done National Novel Writing Month properly. Although it’s not enforced, technically the rules request that you start a completely new project rather than continuing something you’ve already started. Almost all my NaNoWriMos have been continuations of existing projects.

(And before anyone asks: no, of course I didn’t count what I’d already written towards my NaNoWriMo total. I started a new document each time and ‘married’ the sections together later. I don’t know why some people find this difficult to understand!)

Come late October 2016, I had two projects I wanted to work on: my 2015 NaNoWriMo, which was a fairly successful attempt at my ‘big’ novel, and Settlement 359. Both were, at the time, stalling. Neither thrilled me. As late as the first regional meeting, I still hadn’t made my mind up.

Then, on the night of October 30th, I had a dream. My dream went something like this: I was a teenage girl in some kind of magical world. I was sent to live in a big house with several other girls (one was a young Natalie Portman). The house had magical paintings on the walls that were part of a protection spell.

After a spell in the house (ha) I was menaced in the garden by a demon that took the form of a hooded figure. It moved very slowly towards me and it was important that I walk rather than running away, if I wanted to escape alive. After that I was taken out of the house and to somewhere safer.

I woke up, and thought there’s a YA fantasy novel in that dream. Then I thought, this is fate.

So, come November 1st, I started an entirely new novel, with an entirely new fantasy world. I went in with a solid idea of how magic would work in this world and the ‘demon in the garden scene’ as my goal to work towards (I figured it for an act one climax, of sorts).

Otherwise, I was winging it. I threw in new characters whenever I got bored. It’s in a first person voice, which is a first for me in long-form fiction. The central plot twist came to me in the bathroom at work. It was all very exciting.

I wrote about 70k during the month of November and this past January I finished it off, bringing it up to 83k, which isn’t too bad for a rough first draft.

What’s it about? This is the ‘official’ blurb at present:

Ash’s mother is a witch. Ash’s mother has disappeared. Locked in a safehouse for young witches, Ash tries to make sense of what has happened and of her destiny, but the force that took her mother is closing in, and a snap decision to protect a human girl threatens to break everything apart.

It’s structured, I hope, a bit like an unfurling flower. It opens in a world very like ours, but with the occasional witch. Each bit of new information given about witches, their origins, and their powers, renders the world they live in stranger and more alien. About halfway throught, the main character and her friends journey into the Land of Fairy and it just gets weirder from there.

Ash is on hold at present, until after I finish editing my other novel… and writing my other other novel… you get the picture. But it was a lot of fun to write and I’m very pleased with the result – looking forward to writing that second draft, just as soon as I have the time.

“This is Fairy, Ash. Anything is possible.”

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My Week In Writing (7/5/17)

20170430_205810To be quite honest, I’ve had a hellishly busy week – two job interviews + a meeting to discuss volunteering + an anthology deadline. And then next week, I have two more job interviews! And after that I’m going to Berlin. So, that’s going to be a fun ride.

Settlement 359 is now sitting just shy of 132k and I really hope it’s coming up on the climax, though as I’m still not 100% sure what said climax is I really don’t know. But I am coming up on a scene I flashed forward to earlier in the novel, which is always exciting.

Summer is coming along nicely as well. I made a proper list of all the edits I still need to make and I’m working on 1-2 a night. I’m optimistically aiming to get this draft done in a month or so.

I submitted my story for The Temporal Logbook II. I’m not 100% satisfied with the finished product – I only managed to find one person to read it at such short notice and he found it confusing, which is a difficult criticism to take on board because it was supposed to be confusing. Just, in a good way. I hope.

I started re-reading The Circle Opens by Tamora Pierce. I got through Magic Steps and Street Magic, the two I read when I was a kid, and now I’m moving into new territory with Cold Fire. Once I’m done with all four, I’ll finally be done with all my Christmas books (hurray!)… and I’ll be able to move onto the books I got for my birthday. Starting with Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay.

I didn’t listen to as much audio stuff as usual, because I only worked a couple of days this week, but I did start listening to the third season of Jago & Litefoot, which in a delightful twist also features Tom Baker-era companion Leela. I’m about halfway through now and it’s probably my favourite season so far.

And I listened to The Children of Seth, part of their Lost Stories range. It’s by Christopher Bailey, who wrote some of my favourite Doctor Who serials (Kinda and Snakedance) and like his other stories, it’s dizzyingly confusing. I’m still not sure if I liked it or not.

Next week I’m hoping to finish The Circle Opens and listen to The Masters of Luxor, another lost story, this time from the William Hartnell era. And I’m going to Berlin, to see some museums and (I hope) eat some cake.

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How I accidentally wrote a novel

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The only copy of The Challenge

In July of 2016, I was in that awkward place of wanting to start a new story, but having no new ideas. I cast about for an old idea I might be able to put down on paper – and all of a sudden, remembered a sci-fi story I wrote for my GCSE English coursework. I remembered it involved time-travelling aliens, a desert, and a pretty cool used future aesthetic.

Trouble was, on investigation it turned out I’d erased my copy together with all of my old schoolwork. Well, I’d got the idea in my head now. I figured I’d just try and do it again, from memory, and see where it took me.

End result: 120,000 words and counting YA science fiction novel. I didn’t mean to write a novel. I just wanted to start a new longish short story.

This isn’t even the first time. When I sit down intending to write a novel, it fizzles out after a few pages. Almost all my novels have come about after deciding to write a thing… you know, a thing, just something, no pressure. Just write a thing. Suddenly, the thing is 200,000 words long, and I don’t know how it happened.

My sci-fi novel is work-titled Settlement 359 (which I’ll almost certainly change). It’s a story about Cobey H, a 16-year-old human-alien hybrid living on a desert planet that used to be an oil colony owned by an outerspace superpower descended from the USA. There’s a conspiracy, and an interstellar war, and a lot of hybrids with superpowers, and around about act two it all goes a bit Slaughterhouse 5 (one the time travel kicks in).

And it’s pre-novel history is pretty interesting. I through this idea around a couple of times, before committing to it and turning it into something unrecognisable.

The Challenge

I remember I was dead set on writing sci-fi for my English Language coursework. Screw literature, I wanted to have fun and be honest about myself and what I write. I’d also just got done watching Firefly and wanted to write something with a similar vibe.

The first version of The Challenge was about some kids travelling to an abadoned space station and it was basically a haunted house story in space. Which now I look back on it, is actually a pretty fun idea, but it didn’t go anywhere. At some point I realised I had no actual plot, put it aside, and started over.

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A space map

Same title (which might have been part of the assignment? I honestly don’t remember), same aesthetic, totally different story. The second version of The Challenge was about a girl called Callie who lives in a blended human-alien community. Callie has some alien genes, and shares their time travel powers. She spends the story trying to convince the alien priest to let her participate in their coming of age rite, which involves a select group of young people travelling back to the foundation of their society.

Like I said, I deleted my only digital copy, but while clearing out my childhood bedroom, I found a hard copy complete with notes in the margin from my teacher. It’s alright, considering. There’s a pretty glaring structural issue and the used future aesthetic I wanted so badly doesn’t even figure that highly, and the time travel doesn’t make a lick of sense – I remember being acutely aware of that last problem at the time. I’d kind of glad I didn’t get to re-read it before starting the novel. Might have put me off.

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Visual development for the webcomic that didn’t happen

I think I meant to make it a longer story, but at some point I accepted that I was never going to write it, because I adopted the setting (at some point dubbed Marikesh) for another project I was writing, a romance story set in an outerspace monarchy. I wanted it to contain several planets, and grabbed a ready-made one. At one point it was going to be a webcomic, so I have a lot of drawings for it, but that never got off the ground. I never intended for Marikesh to really appear in the story, and it didn’t.

But the romance story did focus on the ramifications of being an interspecies hybrid, which is the central theme of the novel I ended up writing.

Settlement 359 has not been an easy ride. For some reason, I only recently realised that when writing a novel one doesn’t actually have to include all the minutiae of one’s protagonist’s life, so the early sections are, er, a bit padded.

Cobey H spends a lot of the novel stuck in a rut, and not even really trying to get out. She’s a difficult protagonist, one who dodges the call to adventure at every turn because she just doesn’t want any trouble, you know? When she finally goes, she quite literally goes kicking and screaming. Why did I write her that way? I honestly don’t know, but I think it’ll work. I hope it’ll work.

Right now, I’m in part 7, Endgame, which should involve the climax, which should lead into a happy ending. I’ll keep you posted.

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My Week In Writing (2/4/17)

settlementI hit 100,000 words on my sci-fi novel, so I’m feeling pretty proud of that right now – even if it’s 90% trash. Here’s a taste of what I wrote this week:

“What’s that word, indigenous?” said Saara.

“The natives,” said Doctor Yen. “The people who live here.”

“We are not indigenous,” said Saara. “We make our kesh here, but we are not native. This is not Marikesh.” They lowered the tablet. “We go through this cavern. After that there is – the symbols call it an old warren. There will be more symbols to lead to the waystation.”

“And the rangers? You can call them from there?” said Cobey.

“They might already be coming,” said Saara. “They might have – seen.”

“You’re a native,” said Doctor Yen, clearly not following the conversation. “But the rest of you – you’re human?”

A difficult question. A frosty silence. At length Six said, “no.”

I also started editing Summer in earnest – this should, fingers crossed, be the final draft. But first I need to make some cuts, add a new character thread, and probably re81kc5sE9pVL-organise the chapter breaks.

I finished reading Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children: Library of Souls and I also read Steven Universe: Too Cool For School, because I’m the kind of nerd that likes to watch cartoons for children. You can read my reviews of both over on my Goodreads.

I started reading Cry at Midnight by Mavis Gulliver. It’s the first in a trilogy of children’s fantasy novels set on Tiree. I got all three as a holiday gift from my mum, who thought I might be interested in the publisher – Cinnamon Press, an independent publisher based in North Wales. They’re not actually taking submissions at the moment, but they do have a novella competition that I might look into.

I finished watching Netflix’s new A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation and have some mixed but generally positive feelings about it – more on that soon.

I went to the Edinburgh Literary Salon, which this month had speakers from the Edinburgh Society of Independent Authors and Shoreline of Infinity, Scotland’s own sci-fi magazine. I particularly enjoyed the Shoreline of Infinity talk, from editor Noel Chidwick – I really love the magazine, so it was great to learn more about how they were founded (also, they published my story – buy it here!).

Also, I made chocolate brownies for my flatmate’s birthday party, and they were delicious.

Next week, I’m going to be pressing on with my novels (should be hitting 110k soon, fingers crossed), heading along to Inky Fingers and workshopping a new (ish) short story at my writing group. It’s a very serious near-future sci-fi about abortion. It also has a super-intelligent wonder dog. It’s, um, a difficult piece to describe, and hopefully my group will enjoy it!

 

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Noveling: The Ever-Present Trilogy

While typing up a previous post, I referred to the novel trilogy I’ve been working on for going on ten years now as ‘my Ever-Present novel’, and it immediately occurred to me that that would actually make for a pretty good working title for the trilogy. It’s been lacking a working title ever since I ditched the previous one – The Shining Darkness – for having nothing to do with the story at all. (In my defence, it does sound pretty cool.)

This novel has existed in a lot of different forms (and I mean a lot) even only including the ones since I started attempting to put it to paper. The tone, themes and overall focus have swung all over the place. However, I’m fairly sure the most recent draft is a winner. Aside from anything else, it’s currently very nearly at 150,000 words (it might hit 150k tonight, actually), making it by far the longest thing I’ve written to date. It’ll be 170,000 by the time it’s done… and that’s just part one.

What turned out to be the key to success in sustaining a draft for more than a couple of pages (I’ve had one substantial draft before which made it to 50,000 words – again, I got to the end of part one out of three) was doing it completely by accident. A previous draft had started with a short prologue with around a thousand words about each character to provide some backstory, and I found one of them intriguing enough that, just for fun, I thought I’d write an expanded version. Forty thousand words later I had the beginning of a new draft on my hands.

But before I get to that, let’s talk about those other drafts.

The Pre-Written Version

I’m not going to talk about this too much, partly because for various reasons much of it is silly and embarrassing (and involves a lot of borderline-plagiarism) and partly because tracing the development of a story before I attempted to write it down is virtually impossible.

Mostly I bring this up in order to explain that this novel existed for a lonnnng time before I tried to write it down. It may date back to before I started school, though I’m not sure as it’s difficult to date memories before that. Reason being: this one is very closely attached to what’s best referred to as my ‘headspace’, a sort of on-going fantasy kitchen sink story that developed out of the imaginary friends I had when I was very little. (Sometimes I wonder how other people get by without having one of these to turn to when they get bored, to be honest.) Every draft of the Ever-Present novel has been a slimmed-down version of my headspace with the sillier aspects taken out.

The very first little slice of it to exist in written form is a play about some of the characters being abducted by aliens that I wrote (possibly co-wrote with my sister, not sure) to perform in primary school. It never got performed because I neglected to inform any of the teachers that I intended to perform a play. No, I don’t know either.

Handwritten Drafts

I have three of these, one of which is virtually identical to the first typed draft, so I’ll leave that for now. There was definitely at least one more. I have a vague idea there was another but I could be wrong for reasons I shall get to in a moment.

The very first draft, and the only one that’s really substantial, is naturally to date the one that’s closes to my headspace version, so I won’t say much because it’s a bit personal and a lot silly. To summarise: a recently-orphaned boy named Leo is mysteriously delivered to a very strange children’s home where all the residents are both a) magical and b) a little bit mad. The most interesting element of it, besides the fact that it’s actually quite long considering how young I was when I wrote it (maybe thirteen?) is the fact that at this stage Leo is for some reason under the impression that magic does not exist. I remember feeling strange about that when I wrote it and I seem to have dropped it very quickly in subsequent drafts.

I dropped that draft because I decided (correctly) that it was too silly and started another draft, which I decided was too serious. This is where things get shaky: I do indeed have a much more serious draft that may be the second one, except it’s written on plain paper, not lined paper, and I have a very strong feeling that the second draft was written on lined, from what I remember of actually writing it. Also, it occurs to me now, looking at the two side by side, that the difference in handwriting is quite pronounced which suggests there was quite a while between the two, and I have a plan that goes with the plain paper draft which has elements in it that I am pretty sure came considerably later. I deduce from this that there was indeed a second draft which I have lost.

The one on plain paper is what I call the ‘Version Version’, because for some reason I decided that each section should be called ‘Version’ something. The first part is called ‘Version Entrance’. Of all the early drafts this one is probably the strongest by a long way, but unfortunately it’s only a page long and Leo doesn’t even get to the children’s home.

There was one final handwritten draft that was so distinctive that I know absolutely for certain that I lost it. I call it the ‘Mrs Robinson draft’ and as I don’t have it I remember it very much through rose-tinted glasses. I suspect it was terrible. I had decided that the story should start with the death of Leo’s parents and tried writing that from the point of view of their next-door neighbour, which was a silly idea; the second part was from the point of view of the wizard who ran the children’s home and gave some background on why he spirited Leo away, which was considerably less silly.

Typed Drafts

The first typed draft was a major landmark not just for the Ever-Present novel but for my writing generally. At some point I grew sick of telling people I was ‘writing a novel’ and then sheepishly admitting that I only have twelve pages or so and decided to get the damn thing written. For the first time ever I started making myself write a thousand words a day, every day, until it was done, and keeping a proper record of my progress.

As a brief side note, this is the notebook I recorded that progress in:

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The records don’t tend to take up much space, so it’s mostly empty. I’m still using it to record my progress. It’s a good feeling. (Also it has Micky Mouse on the front, so.)

At this point I had yet to deviate significantly from the same story: Leo’s parents die (the circumstances of their deaths changefrom draft to draft), he is identified as having magical potential and taken to a specialised children’s home run by a wizard, and hijinks ensue. However, this draft progressed far enough to actually have a plot: increasingly extreme anti-magic feelings are developing in the wider world of the story, until eventually the atmosphere becomes to unsafe that the whole house full of children have to go on the run. The trauma and excitement of this triggers Leo’s latent magic, which turns out to be mindreading and at this stage seeing the future. They start living in a cave system by the sea, run by a fish-man named Archie (no, really) who is a old friend of their housekeeper, but are eventually spotted and ratted out to the authorities (who by this point are quite firmly on the anti-magic side). Things take a swerve for the dark and almost all the characters are killed before they can escape. End part one!

Parts two and three were going to be set at the same time, with events interweaving, but neither ever got off the ground, sadly. The surviving characters got split into two groups at the end of part one, both believing the others to be dead. One gets involved with the formal resistance, the other is more concerned with simply surviving and eventually forms a sort of resistance group of its own.

This is where the big break happened. The next draft I wrote was for NaNoWriMo 2007, and it is completely different. The anti-magic sentiments/oppressive government regime aspects remained, but the setting and characters got moved around.

The children’s home remained part of Leo’s backstory, but for the most part the plot was concerned with him leaving the home to go to a boarding school attached to a magical Temple (the Ellanei Temple – it gets more important later), where he meets the other main characters. I think at this stage I had settled on Annabel, a shape-shifter, Bridget, a healer and novice priestess at the temple, and Samuel, who is very skilled at divination, as the four leads, though I struggled to get Bridget involved with the plot.

This draft is… not good. Not at all. It was my first time doing NaNoWriMo so it’s mostly chaos. The overarching plot was handled very clumsily, though the character stuff isn’t that bad. The general shape of it is going to form book two of the trilogy, when I get there (hopefully soon).

I attempted two more typed drafts before getting to the current one. One mostly consists of the aforementioned prologue with character backstories, then would have progressed to the same sort of material as the NaNoWriMo draft, but it trailed off before then. It largely forms the basis for book one.

The final one got to just shy of ten thousand words and starts with a very introspective homage to the lost ‘Mrs Robinson’ draft; it opens with a prologue concerning an otherwise unrelated character named Julia Robinson being arrested for using magic. At this stage I had decided that the issues I was having were down to not starting when the action did, so this one began much later, with the anti-magic regime already in place, with flashbacks to the important prior events. What I have of it is going to form the basis for book three.

Current Draft

The current draft, therefore, is kind of a synthesis of all the previous drafts. I wrote one sequence – Leo’s discovery of his mindreading – with all the other drafts open in tabs so I could integrate my favourite parts of all of them. So that was fun.

So let’s talk about the current structure of the trilogy.

Part One: Phases of Being

Phases of Being is a very, very expanded version of what was originally just the prologue. It consists of four novellas (each around forty thousand words), one for each of the main characters, detailing their personal histories, setting up their characters, and generally getting them to the place(s) they need to be for part two. It takes them from age ten/eleven/twelve (depending on the character) to sixteen/seventeen. It’s also concerned with setting up the political situation and the declining position of magic. As this one is mostly complete and also quite complicated I’ll make another post just for it.

Part Two: Preliminary Castings

Will open with Samuel, Leo and Annabel arriving at the Temple School and Bridget juggling her new responsibility as school nurse with training to be a proper healer. It will be, in effect, a better executed version of the NaNoWriMo draft, with teenager-antics against a background of increasing social and political turmoil. The primary focus will be on Annabel dealing with her own various social issues and getting to a place where she can form proper relationships.

Personally, I think the title of this one is fairly self-explanatory – it’s setting things up for the third part, getting the characters into their places, etc., plus it’s a reference to Samuel’s rune-casting and the general foreshadowing of events to come.

Part Three: Candlelight

Fun fact: ‘Candlelight’ is the title of part three of the very first typed draft. In the chaos following the military coup that ends the second part, Bridget and Samuel are holed up in the Temple, where a resistance group begins to form, while Annabel and Leo are on the run in the Temple Town trying to survive and help others get to safety.

Of course, none of that is really an adequate summary of this completely ridiculous project. I shall make another post with more detail about Phases of Being, the most concrete part, and hopefully another one at some point about the world-building.

But before then, I’m going to go and hit 150k.

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Current Writing Projects

I’m very bad at committing to things. As such, I tend to have stupid numbers of writing projects on the go at once and oftentimes I struggle to finish any of them because I can’t decide which to prioritise first. So here, for future reference, is a list of projects which are currently in the writing, editing or submission stages:

Note: (w) indicates a working title.

Novels

Four Seasons Quartet. Current status: two books written, one in the editing stages, one on-hold.

Or at least I think this wants to be a quartet. The titles of the first two are Summer and Autumn so logically there should be two more parts, but I only have a detailed plan in my head for one more. However, I do have a vague idea for a fourth one, so we shall see.

Summary: Pseudo-Victorian era fantasy. More detail on this later.

(w) Ever-Present Novel. Current status: three-quarters of the way through the first book in the trilogy.

This one is definitely going to be a trilogy – it has a neat three-act structure to it – but the end of the third book is not even close to being the real end. This one doesn’t even have a real end. As of right now I have the lives of the characters roughly plotted out from the ages of twelve through forty. The third book ends when they are around eighteen. I’ve yet to come up with any kind of logically plan as to how to write the rest.

Summary: Urban fantasy. See above.

Works-In-Progress

The Show Must Go On. Current status: ~200 words. I haven’t really started this one, I just wanted to get something down on paper.

Summary: Fantasy/sci-fi. Proserpina lives in a world which revolves entirely around the giant Theatre and its show that never, ever stops. Once she is Scouted as a dancer in the chorus, she begins to realise that she has allowed her identity to be subsumed by the collective.

Down the Rabbit Hole and What Alistair Found There. Current status: ~ 150 words. See above.

Summary: Surreal fantasy. A transgender teenager, Alistair, falls into a giant library populated by miniature clockwork robots which may or may not be powered by human souls, and ruled by a mysterious and shadowy Librarian.

Glimpsing the Walkers. Current Status: ~10,000 words, on hold.

Summary: Surreal fantasy/sci-fi/horror. Sophie is mysteriously sent away to live with mysterious relatives in a town where mysterious things happen and everyone seems to be on the brink of going mad. Most mysterious of all are the Walkers, people who aren’t quite alive and are’t quite ghosts, and who no-one will talk about. Sophie decides to investigate further and discovers that once glimpsed the Walkers are not easily forgotten.

(w) Tanaquil. Current Status: ~15,000 words, on hold, in need of much editing.

Summary: Benjamin falls out of his bleak and monotonous life into a world that is actually five overlapping worlds, Tanaquil, Quark, Fae, Corioli and Niflheim. Niflheim is forbidden and unknown territory; the only person to have gone there and returned has been driven mad. He is convinced that the dark and deadly forces of Niflheim are on the brink of spilling over into the other four worlds and that Benjamin’s arrival is a harbinger of doom; Benjamin is the only person genre savvy enough to listen to him.

(w) Island. Current status: Still in the planning stages.

Summary: Historical fantasy. Aodh is a young man attached to a remote island monastery, cast out by his family due to his violent, surreal visions which occasionally come true. He sees a blond man washed up on the beach over and over; sure enough, one day he finds a shipwrecked Saxon prince named Gar.

Editing

Some FixingCurrent Status: ~6000 words.

Summary: Sci-fi. In the middle of a battlefield that used to be a city some time in the future, a lowly technician discovers a several damaged Cyborg-Soldier which has someone regained its memories of being human.

The Goat Boy and the Prince. Current status: ~12,000 words.

Summary: Fairy tale. A long, long time ago, the land was full of magic. It crackled under the earth and the sea, in every living thing, glistening on every leaf and every bird and in the wings of every dragonfly; it blazed in the heavens at dusk, painting the sky red and gold. Listen and you could hear it singing. The world was new and bright.

(w) The Lift. Current Status: ~28,000 words.

Summary: Sci-fi. In a world contained entirely within a twelve-storey building where everything runs like clockwork, a young woman is suddenly approached by a man who flaunts all the rules and seems convinced that she is the key to unlocking everything.

The Fifth Dream. Current status: ~14,000 words.

Summary: Magical realism set in Ancient Greece. A potter starts dreaming that statues of Athene are talking to him and starts to realise that he may be descended from Zeus; meanwhile, Athens is on the brink of war and his visions are set upon as an omen of Victory.

Submission

I Am. Current status: ~9000-13,000 words. There’s two different drafts, the former is abridged as most magazines won’t accept anything over ten thousand words.

Summary: A man wakes up inside a machine with no air and no memory of how he came to be there. Unfortunately, once he escapes everyone he meets seems to know exactly who he is and everyone seems to want him dead.

Locked Rooms. Current status: ~10,000 words.

Summary: A boy starts to realise that his idyllic rural life may not be all that it seems.

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